alexa Intermuscular coordination in a sprint push-off.
General Science

General Science

Journal of Ergonomics

Author(s): Jacobs R, van Ingen Schenau GJ

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This study was designed to investigate the patterns of intermuscular coordination during a sprinting event. In previous research it was found that despite the indeterminacy problem of movement control, movements like vertical jumping, speed skating and cycling are performed in a stereotyped manner. It was hypothesized that this might be due to constraints associated with the transformation of joint rotations into the desired translation. The objective of the present study was to determine the extent to which the intermuscular coordination patterns during other movements also are performed in a stereotyped manner and, if that is true, whether this can be understood on the basis of such constraints. Seven elite sprint runners were instructed to execute an explosive sprinting dash. Ground reaction forces and cinematographic data were recorded for the second stance phase of the sprint. Simultaneously, electromyographic activity of nine leg muscles was recorded telemetrically. Linked-segment modeling was used to obtain net joint moments and net joint powers. Different athletes appeared to perform the sprint in a stereotyped manner. The muscle coordination pattern is characterized by a proximo to distal sequence in timing of the monoarticular muscles. When compared to the sequential pattern found in jumping, the biarticular hamstrings and rectus femoris muscles behave differently; in the sprint a more pronounced reciprocal activity between these muscles exists. The resulting movement pattern is characterized by a sequence of upper leg extension and plantar flexion. The observed sequence in timing of muscle activation patterns is aimed at solving the problems associated with the earlier identified geometrical and anatomical constraint. However, the coordination pattern cannot be fully understood on the basis of these constraints. A specific constraint is identified with respect to the direction of the ground reaction force, which explains the pronounced reciprocal activity of the biarticular hamstring and rectus femoris muscles. The intermuscular coordination pattern in the sprint can be seen as a compromise between the specific requirement of the sprint and the advantageous effect of a proximo to distal sequence as found previously for jumping.

This article was published in J Biomech and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics

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